A diner that was destroyed during the disturbances following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has sued the city and its mayor, Jacob Frey, in Minnesota state court. In the complaint, the two owners of the Town Talk Diner allege the city and the mayor, by way of what they did and did not do during the rioting, failed to provide any protection to their establishment. Hundreds of businesses were damaged during the uprising, many of them beyond repair, and some, like the diner, burned to the ground, but this is reportedly the first case of a business suing over lack of protection.
The Town Talk was located about a hundred yards from the Minneapolis Third Precinct police headquarters, which was the reporting station for the officers who are being charged in the George Floyd case. The station was overrun, abandoned and torched by demonstrators on the night of May 28.
On the night of May 27, two days after Floyd was killed, the situation in the area near the Third Precinct police station was already “extremely dangerous,” according to the complaint. “Fully aware of the serious safety issues they created, Mayor Frey and the City stood back and watched as their failure to follow the policies in place destroyed the businesses on Lake Street. Residents and business owners near the MPD’s Third Precinct noticed vehicles dropping off pallets of bricks and other objects typically used to cause property destruction. Police were notified and questioned regarding the activity. The residents and business owners were told to ‘get thef#$@ out of the area’ by the police.”
Much of the case made in the complaint centers on the mayor’s alleged failure to make a timely request for help from the Minnesota National Guard. Some months ago a feature article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune examined communications among city and state officials and others regarding the Guard deployment, and while that article provides a detailed timeline, it still leaves plenty to litigate about. It reports, for example, that on Wednesday, May 27, Mayor Frey called Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and requested assistance from the Minnesota National Guard: “Frey said Walz ‘did not say yes. He said he would consider it.’ Frey insists that he explicitly asked that night whether his verbal requests constituted a formal request for the National Guard, and the governor’s staff confirmed that they did. The governor’s office disputes that.”
The plaintiffs ask for “actual damages in excess of $4,500,000.00,” plus interest, attorney and investigative costs, and other “monetary, injunctive, and declaratory relief as the Court may deem just and proper.”
Today’s General Counsel / DR